DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Melimaril Fernandez

Professor Toni Seddio

Psychology 24

May 15, 2014

Personality Disorders


            A personality disorder is characterized by a set of inflexible behavior patterns that keep a person from functioning appropriately socially in everyday life. There are many types of personality disorders but I will be discussing three that intrigued me the most: antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. Each disorder is very similar in causes. However each has different symptoms. People with personality disorders can live normal lives if and only if they are treated for said disorder. If the disorder is not treated or taken care of as a young child, the adult years can be very ruthless. It has been mentioned that people with personality disorders have a 97% chance of a history of child abuse whether it was sexual or physical. Personality disorders are curable. There are treatments that consist of psychotherapy and/or hospitalization. Prescription drugs may be provided by a medical doctor. Some myths about APD1: this disorder is untreatable, this disorder coddles criminals and gives them an excuse for their behavior, and this disorder cannot be prevented. Some myths about BPD2: bad parenting is a cause of BPD, persons with this disorder don’t know how to love, and this disorder only affects women. Some myths on NPD3: all persons with this disorder are capable of murder and rape, a person with this disorder is just in love with themselves, persons with this disorder are just vain and “big-headed” people.


APD- Genetic factors and environmental factors, such as child abuse, are believed to contribute to the development of this condition.

BPD- Doctors have not found an accurate reason as to where borderline disorder stems from but from recent researches predict it may have to do with childhood trauma. This child may have suffered a death in the family and this produces the feelings of loneliness. Another possibility is the person was neglected and now they seek attention from others as an adult. A couple of well-known celebrities diagnosed with BPD are Princess Diana and Doug Ferrari. The princess was diagnosed on or around 1999. It was said that the separation of her parents was the trigger of the disorder. She experienced self-mutilation, binge eating, and troubled relationships. Mr. Ferrari was mentally ill, addicted to drug and alcohol, and homeless for more than a year.

NPD- Causes are similar to those with antisocial and borderline disorders.

Diagnostic Criteria

As stated earlier, one personality disorder is antisocial personality disorder. This disorder is a mental condition in where the person shows no morality within society and disregards the rights of other human beings. However, the closer you observe the more you realize they are very manipulative and misleading. They have no hard feelings towards any wrongdoing. Some people also harm others; they understand the harm they have done. Yet, they feel no pain for them. For example in our text is Tommy Lynn Sells. He was a 35 year-old man who raped, murdered, and abused at least 13 people. Tommy once said in a news report, that he had no love for people. Tommy liked to watch his victims eyes fade as they were dying. Tommy Lynn also quoted that he raped children and abused them because he himself, was a victim of rape and abuse when he was growing up. He stated that he didn’t want them to go through the pain he went through so he took their lives away. Tommy is a perfect example of antisocial personality disorder because as said in Essentials of Understanding Psychology by Robert S. Feldman, people with this disorder usually have lack of attention as a child; therefore, once they become adults they no longer feel remorse for others. They feel rejected by all.

            The second personality disorder mentioned is borderline personality disorder. A person with this disorder has difficulty developing a secure sense of who they are; therefore, they look to others behavior and personality, sort of to build an identity and help them define who they are.  Individuals with this disorder usually tend to rely on others for their identity; this can cause distrust and difficulty controlling their anger. They feel empty and alone and demand attention of another person. When attention isn’t received they begin to feel angry and neglected. Some symptoms consist of harm to one self-such as: cutting, binge eating, reckless driving, fear of being left alone, and intense mood swings.

            Last but perhaps not least is narcissistic personality disorder. Persons with this disorder, have an exaggerated sense of self importance. These individuals also expect special treatment from others no matter how they feel. People with this disorder can be obnoxious and may also harm in a criminal form. They are more concerned with power, vanity, and personal adequacy and are unable to see the harm they cause to themselves and others along the way. They expect admiration and positive reinforcements. These persons take advantage of others to achieve their own needs and wants. Psychologist Alan Rappoportstated that “narcissistic parents demand certain behavior from their children because they see the children as extensions of themselves, and need the children to represent them in the world in ways that meet the parents’ emotional needs.” This can cause the child himself to suffer from depression; and that can lead to suicidal thoughts- just because he or she can’t accomplish their parent’s dreams.


APD- One of the best treatments for this particular disorder is a type of psychotherapy. The patient can express their emotional feelings to the therapist and then he or she can help him or her cope with issues they may have been going through or their past.

BPD- One of the best treatments recommended is a type of psychotherapy called dialectal behavior therapy. At this therapy session, the persons with this disorder learn new behavioral skills to help them manage their emotions, relationships, and stress through problem solving strategies. The doctor may prescribe anti-depressants, antipsychotics or anti-anxiety medication based solely on the severity of the disorder. Some persons may need to be hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital or clinic for a more intense treatment. Hospitalization can also be to prevent self-harm.

NPD- Treatments as well are quite similar to the previous disorders discussed.

Personal Reflection

As children are growing up, identity is one of the biggest factors and issues children endure. We grow up all our lives trying to figure out “who we are”. A personality disorder can affect who we are for the rest of our lives. It causes others to label us, and no one likes a label. Every personality disorder connects back to childhood. The things we go through as a child may not affect us at that very moment because as children, we might be oblivious or unaware of how traumatic the situation can be. Parents always want what they believe is best for us. However, sometimes what they do for us is NOT what we need. As parents or caretakers, it is our duty to keep ourselves updated with new conditions and information on older ones; whether it is physical or cognitive. The sooner a disorder or disease is caught; the easier it is to treat. Most people with personality disorders are not diagnosed because they are either in denial or just blame it on stress from work and school. Sometimes we may be happy, other times sad, then vice versa.

It is crucial to be aware of our children. They are young and not as developed cognitively. It is in our responsibility to care for and protect the next generation. It is best to act now than later.


1-Antisocial Personality Disorder

2-Borderline Personality Disorder

3-Narcassistic Personality Disorder















DSM-IV and DSM-5 Criteria for the Personality Disorders on psi.uba.ar

Essentials of Understanding Psychology: Eighth Edition by: Robert S. Feldman (Psychology Text book)




Tommy Lynn Sells; News report on MoxNews.com and News article on New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2000/03/04/us/national-news-briefs-drifter-confesses-to-killing-13-people.html?scp=1&sq=Tommy%20Lynn%20Sells&st=cse

Psychologist Alan Rappoport, PhD; Control Mastery Theory and Psychotherapy




DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.